When the plant first opened in 2005, they did not have a dedicated maintenance management system in place, so they used Excel spreadsheets, which caused a number of issues. First and foremost, they were not able to have more than one person in the spreadsheet at a time. When information had to be entered, workers sometimes had to wait until someone else was done with it. The other major problems with the spreadsheet were how repairs and inventory were tracked and managed.
The spreadsheets made it very difficult to find anything, and there was a lot of duplicate information.
Using an Excel spreadsheet to manage their inventory made tracking more difficult for Red Star Yeast. Since items could not easily be found, sometimes workers would think they were out of the item and order more. This lead to money being spent on duplicate items. Conversely, technicians could not easily determine when new parts were needed, so they ran out occasionally, which caused issues when repairs were needed.
"The spreadsheets made it very difficult to find anything, and there was a lot of duplicate information."
Creating work orders in the spreadsheet required a number of steps. First, the information had to be entered in the work order
tab. Then, the supervisor would assign the order to a technician, and it would be entered into their individual spreadsheet. At the end of the day, supervisors had to follow up to see if the work was done, and an email was sent out to the entire department noting what work was done during that shift. Following up with workers took up a significant amount of the supervisor’s time each day